Posted by: Natalie Hatch | November 23, 2009

Author Interview: Rebecca James

Rebecca James is our guest today on WeLoveYA. Her debut novel “Beautiful Malice” will be published next year. The story behind publication is one most authors dream about. Rejected by countless agents/publishers she had the audacity to keep plugging away and found representation, then had a bidding war that would rival some of the most notable popular fiction books published recently.  And this lady has twins… that makes her a saint in my opinion (and she survived the terrible twin twos without going insane).

  • What was the catalyst to get you to start writing?
The catalyst for me was definitely having four young boys to look after and a small business to help run. It probably sounds insane but I needed something that was purely for me and that had nothing to do with looking after small children or making money.
  • How did you juggle writing, running a business, raising kids?
By having a very laissez-faire attitude towards housework. By enduring lots of tetchy arguments with my partner. By grabbing brief moments of time and getting used to writing a paragraph at a time. By being selfish enough to want something for myself.
  • Do you have a favourite spot to write.
Not really. I have an office in the house we live in now, but in winter it’s so freezing in the office that I usually take my laptop and write at the kitchen table near the fire. I write in bed sometimes. Wherever it’s warm! (Or now that summer is coming, wherever it’s cool).
  • You’ve just had one of the most successful bidding wars over your debut novel at the Frankfurt book fair, how did that feel.
Surreal and wonderful and terrifying all at once.

  • Has it sunk in yet?
It’s sinking in a little more each day.  I’m finally starting to believe it may just be real!
  • You had your novel rejected many times, what made you send it to a UK agent?
I sent it to agents all over the place (whoever would accept email queries mostly). I actually thought I’d be more likely to get an agent in the States so was mainly concentrating there. I got tons and tons of rejections (over 60) but I knew I was on the right track because I kept getting loads of positive feedback (ie this is a great, compelling story,  just wouldn’t know how to sell it/ how to place it etc etc).  I emailed Jo Unwin from Conville and Walsh in the UK one day after finding her on the internet. She said I could post the first 30 or so pages in. After she’d read those pages she let me email her the rest of the manuscript and after a few more weeks she offered representation. I actually got another offer from the States the following day and was suddenly in the awkward position of having to say ‘thanks but no thanks’ to the second agent.
  • Do you ever act out your scenes to see if they work? (any stalking LOL)
ha ha! … um, no … should I? Do you? Can I watch?
  • What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?
I think the best advice is to keep on writing, writing, writing –  especially when you have something out on submission or are waiting to hear back from agents and/or publishers. Try to concentrate on something new and not get all  crazy and obsessive about the manuscript you’ve got out there.
Personally, I was never able to follow this advice and always became totally insane when I was waiting to hear back from people. I’m quite sure I have the most over-pressed send/receive button in the world!
But it IS good advice, and worth trying to follow, I reckon, if you have a modicum of self control. I don’t, clearly.
Beautiful Malice is a psychological thriller for Young Adults, I can’t wait to read it.
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Responses

  1. welcome to We Love YA, Rebecca, and what a great story. It is truly inspirational.

    Next time my partner complains about the state of the house, I shall lead him to this blog post and say, ‘see, see what can happen when you write instead of clean’.

    Looking forward to reading your books.

  2. Congratulations on your huge success, Rebecca! You’re an inspiration, especially to someone like me who seems to get hit with the dreaded ‘R’ with stunning regularity!

  3. I’m in your boat Nessa, I get rejections but it’s okay because Rebecca did too!

  4. […] Miller, Richard Harland, Kirsty Eagar, Tania Roxborogh, Kathy Charles, Scott Monk, Jacinta di Mase, Rebecca James, Jack Heath, Paul Collins, and Gwendolyn […]


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